Biopolymers | 2 MINUTE READ

Start-Up Company to Accelerate Development of Renewable Feedstocks

Trillium Renewable Chemicals to advance technology for production of such feedstocks as acrylonitrile for use in ABS and other plastics.


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A new start-up company, Trillium Renewable Chemicals, Birmingham, Ala., plans to make chemicals from renewable feedstocks, including acrylonitrile for ABS with a net-zero footprint according to CEO Corey Tyree. “This technology can improve supply chain security and GHG (greenhouse gas) footprint of ABS makers,” he said, as one example.

The new start-up was jointly created by Belgium-based venture capital and investment firm Capricorn Partners and Southern Research (SR), an independent nonprofit, scientific research organization with more than 400 scientists and engineers working across three divisions: life science, engineering, and energy & environment. Headquartered in Birmingham, with additional laboratories and offices in Frederick, Md., and Houston, SR supports related industries with independent research on behalf of commercial and government clients, objectively assessing new technologies and providing process development support. It also pursues entrepreneurial and collaborative initiatives to develop and maintain a pipeline of intellectual property and innovative technologies that positively impact real-world problems.


Trillium Renewable Chemicals pilot plant

Trillium Renewable Chemicals’ pilot plant to produce renewable acrylonitrile and glycols


SR has exclusively licensed its patented chemical manufacturing platform to Trillium to accelerate commercial development of this new technology which converts renewable feedstocks, such as sugar or glycerol to chemical products like acrylonitrile, propylene glycol, and acrylic acid. Said Amit Goyal, lead inventor from Southern Research: “The Southern Research team developed an innovative, elegant thermo-catalytic process that utilizes biomass derived sugars or glycerol, allowing for the use of a variety of biomass feedstocks, to produce acrylonitrile and other co-products. This process has the potential to improve economics and the overall environmental footprint of downstream products that utilize acrylonitrile as a raw material.”

Said SR’s COO Michael Catalano, “Southern Research is excited to team up with Capricorn Partners to further the development of our patented technology. With the foundation of Trillium and focused management, we will be able to maximize the commercial potential, which is the ultimate goal and in-line with our strategy to monetize intellectual property for re-investment in future scientific endeavors.”

Trillium and Southern Research will continue to work jointly on the process development, while Trillium will team up with strategic partners for the scale up and deployment of the technology. Said Tyree, “Trillium will demonstrate the commerciality of this technology. Local production from renewable resources can meet the growing demand for green chemicals and offer stable pricing and a more secure supply chain. The market interest is there. To address it, the industry needs enabling technologies such as the catalyst discovered by Southern Research.”

Capricorn Partners has invested from its Capricorn Sustainable Chemistry Fund. The proceeds will be used to scale up the process for the manufacturing of acrylonitrile and glycols. Said Wouter Van de Putte and Rob van der Meij, of Capricorn Partners, “We spotted the Southern Research Technology over two years ago and have been following the development closely as well as exploring market opportunities in Europe and the USA. This type of ‘green drop-in” molecule technology has a great advantage over new ‘green’ molecule developments in that the applications are already fully developed.”


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